Wall of Fame inductees: Fredericton Sports Investment Ltd. held its 20th annual Sports Wall of Fame dinner and induction ceremony Saturday night at the Delta Hotel. This year's inductees included, from left, Brian McKenna (builder), Mike LeBlanc (head coach representing the Ecole Sainte-Anne Castors girls volleyball team), Steve O'Rourke (builder), Heather and Shawn Kitchen (representing late builder Roy 'Hammy' Kitchen), Pat Dobie (athlete) and Terry McIntyre (builder).

Honoured for helping others
McIntyre | Footballer earns place among city's sporting elite because of countless hours of volunteering time

By Bruce Hallihan

Terry McIntyre's home used to double as a storage facility for Capital Area Minor Football Association equipment.

Now, he'll have to make a little room for something he's earned himself.

McIntyre received a keepsake plaque to go with one that will be permanently displayed at the Delta Hotel for being inducted into the Fredericton Sports Wall of Fame.

McIntyre shared the spotlight with a standout class of inductees and other honourees at Fredericton Sport Investment's 20th annual dinner and induction ceremonies Saturday night.

"I'm very honoured, I'm joining a select club," McIntyre said. "Definitely the who's who of Fredericton are here tonight. If you had told me 10, even five, years ago I'd be here tonight I would have just shook my head."

The veteran volunteer has worn many helmets in his career as president, coach, official, publicity coordinator and jack of all trades within the CAMFA, an organization that has swelled from six teams and 125 players when he first got involved to 46 teams and about 950 players under his watch.

"We're the smallest of three (major) cities and we've got the biggest organization," McIntyre said, "so I think somewhere along the way we've done something right."

McIntyre takes the greatest pride in seeing kids develop as players, on and off the field.

"Four years ago, a little kid, I'll call him Johnny, came to us with his grandparents. He was 10 years old. He stared at the floor, he shuffled his feet, he was uncomfortable."

McIntyre made sure to put 'Johnny' with a coach who would help him come out of his shell.

"The fourth year he was an all-star," McIntyre said. "I saw him recently at spring football fittings. He came through the door a different kid. Confident, smile on his face, looking forward to the season. I thought to myself, like they said in the movie Forrest Gump, 'We fixed him.' "

Also part of the class of 2011 were former Fredericton High School basketball coach Steve O'Rourke, ECHL hockey commissioner Brian McKenna, the late Roy 'Hammy' Kitchen, who managed championship softball and hockey teams in the 1950s, '60s and '70s, multi-sport athlete Pat Dobie, inducted into the New Brunswick Sports Hall of Fame last year and so an automatic selection to the shrine in her hometown, and the Ecole Sainte-Anne Castors high school girls volleyball teams that won consecutive A, AA and AAA high school championships from 1980-81 through 1982-83.

Longtime hockey volunteer Kim Hepditch won the fifth William (Bill) MacGillivary Award as Fredericton's outstanding sport volunteer and community worker, while Dan McCullough of the Canadian Football League's B.C. Lions accepted the Myer and Jack Budovitch Trophy as Fredericton's athlete of the year.

"This is terrific," McKenna said. "It's certainly something that I didn't expect, but I'm truly honoured. A lot of the folks on that wall I grew up respecting and admiring."

McKenna was born in Prince Edward Island but moved to Fredericton when he was 11.

"This is where my roots are," McKenna said. "It's here where I got a chance to play sports and compete in baseball and hockey and gain a lifelong interest and love of the games.

"The fact that I've been able to have a career in sports and sports management is all as a result of that - the foundation I got here in Fredericton."

McKenna says the ECHL prides itself on stability. The B.C.-based Victoria Salmon Kings are moving to the WHL, but a new team in Chicago and another team in the United States, to be announced in a month or two, will bump North America's premier AA league to 20 teams next season.

"The last three or four years, the economy is tough, but we've survived that," McKenna said.

Some 466 players, including Toronto goalie James Reimer and Vancouver forward Alex Burrows, have jumped from the ECHL to the NHL, "along with countless coaches, front-office folks, trainers and broadcasters," McKenna said. "We're trying to give people a chance to further their career."

Kitchen's son Shawn and daughter Heather spoke fondly of their late father, who was inducted into the New Brunswick Sports Hall of Fame as a builder in 1998 and as a member of the Neill's softball team in 2002. He was previously recognized on the Fredericton wall as the manager of the 1966-67 Caps hockey team in 1995 and the Neill's softball team when they were enshrined in 2004.

"I wish he was here to accept it himself," Shawn said. "It would be old hat to him, but the biggest thing is he'd just enjoy seeing the people. For what he's done and the way he did it, he was known and respected by a lot of people. This is the final thing for him, now that he's been gone for a year and a half. It's a lasting tribute, I guess, to a man who's done a lot for the community."

O'Rourke, who will retire from teaching at the end of the school year, called his selection to the sports wall "a very close second" among the highlights of a coaching career that spanned 34 years, included 22 provincial championships and 1,125 wins - and just 143 losses.

"No. 1 for me would have to be winning championships with both my daughters," said O'Rourke. "But this is the closest second you could possibly get."

The significance of being inducted "really hit me when I arrived tonight" and read the citations on other plaques.

"When I stood out there and looked at who's on the wall prior to this, it really brought everything into focus as to what it really means to me," he said. "I'm just humbled beyond words to be up there in the company of all those who came before me and are being inducted with me.

"It's an absolutely surreal evening," O'Rourke said. "I'm going to enjoy every second."

Dobie was an outstanding athlete in track and field - especially the field events of shot put, discus and javelin - and also excelled in basketball and fencing.

"It's wonderful, I feel quite privileged," Dobie said. "I was never a Frederictonian for very long but I'm very pleased to be still considered one. I've lived in Ottawa for 40-some years, but I grew up and did all my training here with Johnny Vey and I consider Fredericton my hometown. I was so lucky to be coached by Johnny, who was very knowledgeable, for four years. After I joined the air force I went to Toronto and was coached by Lloyd Percival, who was the coach of coaches."

Mike LeBlanc was head coach of the championship ESA team. With only 40 females in the entire school, he was fortunate to have eight of the 13 players for the A, AA and AAA championship run.

"Six or seven of them still live in Fredericton," LeBlanc said. "They get together quite often and they usually include me. I've been to four or five weddings. Even 28 years later, they're more friends than former student athletes. We had a lot of talent. Several played university later and a couple are still playing volleyball today."

Hepditch said receiving the MacGillivary award "means a lot to me. I've stepped into some pretty big shoes to follow, with John and Gus Mazzuca, John Waite, Ed Dunham and Tim Cane. I guess the only difference is I'm going to wear high heels.

"No one ever volunteers for recognition," Hepditch said. "We do it for the feeling it gives us."

McCullough, who's entering his fourth season with the CFL Lions, is known for snapping the ball, but he made quite a catch earlier in the week. He proposed to Tara Gass of McAdam and she said yes.

"We just got engaged the other night," said McCullough, who also wanted to thank another woman in his life. "My mom sacrificed so much for me and my brother," McCullough said. "She kind of had this motto for us growing up: Work hard and have fun.' I've kind of lived by that slogan, as corny and cliché as it is, but it's gotten me a long way."